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    They are used in a wide range of industries, including technology, hairstyling, medicine and even dance instruction, while imposing restrictions on both high- and low-wage earners.

    The FTC estimates that banning noncompete agreements could create jobs for 30 million Americans and raise wages by nearly $300 billion per year.

    “I think the FTC has done a real public service here by compiling all this evidence, making a really strong case for a complete ban and establishing a new gold standard for policymaking in this area,” said Sandeep Vaheesan, legal director at the Open Markets Institute, which proposed a noncompete ban to the agency in 2019.

    Business groups opposed to the rule, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have said that the contracts are necessary to protect proprietary information and training, and justify investing in workers who might otherwise immediately jump to a competitor.

    In recent years, 11 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws that prohibit the agreements for hourly wage workers or those who fall below a salary threshold.

    Some legal experts said that companies include noncompete clauses in employee contracts regardless of state prohibitions, knowing workers and competitors will be wary of litigation.

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